NSF Undergraduate Summer Research Experience

The Program

The ten-week REU in Polymers will be held May 27th - Aug 1st, 2014.  Approximately ten research opportunities will be available for the Summer of 2014 with additional research positions available through co-sponsorship with NSF Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS).   Research assignments will be based on preferences indicated on the application form in the following possible research areas: polymer nanocomposites, layered materials, polymer chemistry, functional and responsive systems, high performance materials, biomedical devices, polymer rheology, polymer processing.   

Sample projects from previous summers as well as participating faculty are listed below. In addition to cutting-edge research, REU participants will participate in weekly sessions emphasizing the fundamentals of polymer science and engineering, ethics, communication skills, and graduate school preparation.  Local industry tours and social activities are also planned.    REU students are required to present a poster and submit a final report at the end of the summer. Each REU participant will receive a $6000 stipend payable in two installments.  The first payment of $3000 will be available during the first week of the program with the remaining portion available once the program requirements are fulfilled.

Students majoring in polymer science and engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science and engineering or a related field are encouraged to apply.  Women, underrepresented minorities, and students from primarily undergraduate institutions are especially encouraged to apply. Participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

Review the REU Poster

Complete the Application Online

Please address any application questions you may have to: 
Prof. LaShanda Korley Dept. of Macromolecular
Science & Engineering Case Western Reserve University
2100 Adelbert Road, Kent Hale Smith 522 Cleveland, OH 44106-7202
Email: reu-polymers@case.edu
Fax: (216) 368-4202

Sample Past Projects

  1. Develop structure-property relationships in applications ranging from the prediction of fracture and failure in applications ranging from engineering structures, fuel cell membranes, and implantable medical devices. A wide range of mechanical, thermal, and spectroscopic techniques will be used to study materials under simulated use conditions. From this information, you can help develop and commercialize improved, next generation materials which broadly benefit society. Faculty Sponsors: Anne Hiltner and Eric Baer

  2. New macromolecular architectures will be prepared using dynamic synthesis of complex porphyrin arrays. The goal of this work is to develop efficient routes to molecular Cages, Grids and other complex structures. Learn and practice standard synthetic and supramolecular chemistry techniques as well as analytical techniques such as NMR, UV, HPLC, IR and DSC. Faculty Sponsor: Stuart Rowan

  3. Composites of inorganic fillers, including clay aerogels, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes, and photoluminescent metal oxide nanoparticles and a wide range of organic polymers will be explored. Determination of how/why inorganic fillers become compatible with organic polymers, and demonstration of enhanced polymer properties resulting from Hybrid polymer/inorganic composites are the goals of this project. Faculty Sponsor: David Schiraldi

  4. Develop elastomeric networks in the presence of low concentrations of nano-sized clay platelets using various covalent crosslinking methods, such as end-linking reactions and ultraviolet radiation. The goal of this research is to investigate the effect of crosslinking mechanism, precursor molecular weight, degree of crosslinking, and filler concentration on the mechanical behavior of these materials with potential applications as novel hydrogels and shape memory materials. Faculty Sponsor: LaShanda Korley

  5. Simulation of the effects of flow geometry and operating conditions on distributive mixing efficiency and on the potential structures of two-phase systems generated as a result of mixing. Students will be exposed to the use of fluid dynamics software packages in solving problems in polymer processing. Faculty Sponsor: Ica Manas-Zloczower